epa05948968 Australia's Samantha Stosur in action against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo during their first round match of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 07 May 2017.  EPA/JUANJO MARTIN
epa05948968 Australia's Samantha Stosur in action against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo during their first round match of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 07 May 2017. EPA/JUANJO MARTIN JUANJO MARTIN

Stosur wins bragging rights after victory over fellow Aussie

SAMANTHA Stosur has roared deeper into French Open calculations with victory in the Strasbourg International over fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova.

Ensuring she will extend a record 450-week reign as national No 1, Stosur posted a tenacious 5-7 6-4 6-3 victory ahead of Sunday night's start at Roland Garros.

Stosur capped a glorious day for Australia in eastern France after Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua won the doubles title, eclipsing the top-seeded sister pairing of Chan Yung-jan and Chan Hao-ching 6-4 6-2.

Stosur, 33, now owns eight singles titles, a tally crowned by 2011 US Open victory.

"I definitely was expecting a very tough match against Dasha,” she said.

"I thought it could be long and tiring and very physical and she certainly made me work very hard for it.

"I just tried to hang in there. She was playing very well, especially at the start, and it was only the last few games of that third set she started to make a few errors and I was really able to capitalise on that.

"I felt as the match went on, I was able to play more aggressive and use my weapons a bit more to be weapons.

"I felt I stayed really composed in the last set and really happy that I was able to finish it off.”

Gavrilova was left to lament the untimely return of mental demons and admitted she beat herself.

"I was getting distracted in the end and wasn't focusing on what I had to do,” she said.

"I was mentally distracted and getting angry with myself because I felt like I could have done something better in the third set, especially in the start.

"I really felt like I should have been up 2-love.

"I was not happy with myself, I was still fighting, but she really played great tennis.”

Needing to win to retain the Australian No 1 ranking, Stosur started uncertainly before finding a familiar rhythm to deny Gavrilova.

Contesting her second career decider, Gavrilova jumped to a 3-1 lead after twice breaking Stosur's serve, dropping her own delivery once, before securing the first set in 67 minutes.

Unlike the first bracket, the second set went solidly with serve until Gavrilova faltered at 4-5 as Stosur hauled herself back into the contest.

But she immediately struck trouble in the decider to trail 0-2, losing serve before again squaring the contest when Gavrilova wavered.

Refusing to yield to her younger opponent, Stosur pounced decisively in the sixth game to surge to a 4-2 buffer, eventually sealing the win in two hours, 46 minutes.

Stosur has held the Australian No 1 ranking since succeeding Dellacqua, then ranked No 48 in the world, in October, 2008.

Stosur, Gavrilova, Jamie Fourlis, Ajla Tomljanovic and John Millman all play French Open first-rounders on Monday night.

Bernard Tomic and Alex De Minaur kick off proceedings on Sunday night, while Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Jordan Thompson and Barty will start on Tuesday night.


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